Several prominent industry members took the podium on May 2 to educate the southern California Autobody Association (CAA) attendees on the importance of implementing OEM standards—the latest vehicle technology from manufacturers—and I-CAR updates that prepare technicians for the future.
The evening began with a meet and greet and Italian-style dinner at Craftsman Collision in Long Beach, CA. Later on around 7 p.m., Melanie Allan, chapter president and vice president of business development & sales at Craftsman Collision, read the antitrust laws and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Scott Simmons from Collision Advice was the first speaker. Simmons has conducted 50 education courses already this year and is on track to complete 70 before 2020, he said. During his trainings, Simmons stresses the importance of operating from a “negotiation and cultural change perspective.”
“The purpose of my portion is to get shops to rethink their approach to training as well as how they approach their thought process for negotiations,” he said.
Simmons asked the audience, “Do we agree that what we’re working on is the same as five years ago, last year or even last month?”
The crowd of 50 attendees answered “no” in unison, to which Simmons replied, “If we do business the same way we always have and expect a different result, we’re insane.”
“We have to approach it differently,” he said. “Code is the way I’ve been approaching it; I’d like to think it’s the new battleground.”
When it comes to approaching vastly new technology advancements in the industry, Simmons used the saying, “we don’t know what we don’t know.”
“Can a technician be expected to know how to repair a vehicle today? No,” he said.
Simmons said shops should focus on the following four items:
- Providing training
- Correct tools
- Correct materials
- Providing instructions
“That’s where the OEM repair procedures, necessary steps and information become so critical, because [technicians] and [body shop owners] can’t be expected to know how to repair the vehicle without performing the OEM procedure research,” he explained.
Simmons then clarified the difference between opinion and judgment when partaking in a negotiation.